Blind recall: How to check if your Roman shades are safe
In the midst of a huge recall of blinds and Roman shades, here's how to check if the blind recall applies to you.
If young children live in or visit your home, check your window shades. A huge blind recall is in effect.Skip to next paragraph
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The federal government issued a voluntary recall of all Roman shades and roll up blinds with cords on Tuesday. In most cases, the faulty shades can be fixed with a free repair kit.
The potential hazard involves children getting their necks tangled in cords used to operate the shades and blinds. Five fatalities and 16 near-strangulations have involved Roman shades, according to reports received since 2006 by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).The CPSC has gotten reports of another three fatalities since 2001 involving roll-up blinds.
"When parents are child-proofing their homes, they need to look at their windows the same way they look at their electrical sockets," says Nat Klein, spokeswoman for the Window Covering Safety Council (WCSC), a coalition of major US manufacturers, importers, and retailers of window coverings. "We urge parents to use cordless products where children reside."
Here's how to check to see if your Roman shades and roll-up blinds are safe, according to the CPSC:
1) Examine all shades and blinds in the home to ensure that there are no "accessible cords on the front, side, or back of the product." For Roman shades, cords shouldn't be exposed so that a young child can get his or her head between that cord and the fabric — or pull out the cord and wrap it around his neck. In the case of roll-up blinds, make sure that the corded loop that pulls up the blind can't slide off the side of the blind — and that a child can't put his head between the lifting loop and the blind itself.
2) Don't put cribs, beds, or furniture near windows, because children can use them to climb up and reach the cords.
3) Ensure that loose cords aren't accessible.
4) If the shade has looped bead chains or nylon cords, make sure that there are tension devices to keep the cords and chains taut.
If your shades or blinds don't pass muster, stop using them immediately. The CSPC recommends that customers contact the WCSC at (800) 506-4636. If the number is busy, try the website. The website has more detailed information on basic cord safety, how to retrofit shades and blinds, and safety and design tips, as well as a place to order the retrofit directly online (order WCSC-82 for Roman shades; WCSC-86 for roll-up blinds).
However, in at least two cases, the CPSC recommends that consumers return the product. In the case of jute/poly-Roman shades distributed by West Elm of San Francisco, sold between 2005 and 2009, call (800) 492-1949 anytime or visit the firm’s website at www.westelm.com for details on how to get a merchandise card to cover the cost of the shade and shipping. For Wal-Mart roll-up blinds, see below.
Here are Roman shades and blinds that the CPSC specifically recommends that consumers should check:
Roman shades and roll up blinds numbering in the millions can pose a danger to young children. Not all blinds are fixable with a repair kit, however.